Belief without Belonging
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Belief Without Belonging Page 17

Cash and Carry Christianity

Empty Church PewsThe phrase "Believing without Belonging" or "Belief without Belonging" was coined by Grace Davie in the 1990's and has been described in other instances as "Cash and Carry Christianity" or "Cafeteria Catholicism." In the Protestant wing of the church when members require a baptism, a wedding or a funeral but are not committed to membership it is called "Cash and Carry Christianity" meaning they come to the church to get certain services like an infant baptism but feel no compulsion to stay or become a regular member. It is like going into a supermarket to pick up certain items off the shelves. In the Roman Catholic Church today, many of the faithful themselves want to decide which regulations like birth control or abortion to obey and to follow or not to follow. This approach is termed by many "Cafeteria Catholicism." The church may not agree with birth control or abortion in its doctrines so the church member does whatever suits them best! Its an example of people who say they are "spiritual but not religious."

Individual Rights

Individual RightsCash and Carry Christianity, involving belief but not belonging, is hindering both the Roman Catholic and Protestant mainline churches. The individualism of our "Me" and "MeToo" society, and subsequent belief without belonging, has damaged the Christian community. The loss of respect for the corporate church is one of the reasons why our churches have suffered a decline in numbers and in influence in society in the past several decades in favor of individual rights. Societal rights have taken a back seat to children's rights, prisoners' rights, gender rights, ethnic rights, same sex rights and many others. It has become a question of being "politically correct" rather than being "Biblically correct!"

Empty Church Pews

Gothic ChurchWithin the church, we have lost touch with corporate Christianity as the Body of Christ. Our beliefs have become cold and formal and we no longer have the same sense of belonging that previous generations experienced. The individual not the community group has sadly become the foundational unit of society. Individual freedoms however have to join hands with corporate rights in any truly just and fair society. This is the problem with adopting a concept of being politically correct rather than being Biblically correct.

"Belief without Belonging"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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